"The Good Wife" is back, with a trajectory setting that's even better than when it started.

“The Good Wife” is back, with a trajectory setting that’s even better than when it started.
[photo: David M. Russell, CBS]

AFTER PILLORYING how far “The Good Wife” had fallen last year, which I did here, the once dynamic CBS series had something to prove. In the era of “Scandal,” it had become sleepy, tediously legal, while ignoring the gigantic tensions between all those egos. Last night’s “Hitting the Fan” episode went well beyond where the series began, which revolved around the teasing and doomed love affair of Alicia Florric (Julianna Margulies) and Will Gardner (Josh Charles). It blew the roof off and it might just stay off all season.

It was finally revealed that Alicia was leaving Lockhart-Gardner, the news delivered by Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) that becomes a twist that foreshadows the collapse of her judgeship. Will goes ballistic and the entire drama turns on its axis to draw in every character in the series into an emotional hurricane that sets up the rest of the season, even if the writers haven’t figured what to do with Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry), who remains a useful idiot.

Whether the writers and producers are going to school on ABC’s hit political drama “Scandal” doesn’t really matter, but anyone doing television today has to have taken notes on their success.

Considering how bad “The Good Wife” had gotten at the end of last year, prior to hitting 100 episodes this season, trudging into boring and sometimes self-righteous legal proceedings, they also took the sex out, which made Alicia the good wife in literal terms. It was not the stuff of great drama.

Somewhere between the predictable show “The Good Wife” had turned into and where it started, stoked by the tortured ABC dramas, “Revenge,” which begat “Betrayal,” with “Scandal” at the top of that heap, CBS got a clue.

“The Good Wife” is not only worth watching again, but has finally jettisoned into potential trending on Twitter possibilities that have made “Scandal” fans so devoted.

Oh, and the man Alicia is screwing in the other room while everyone works to save Florric Agos is now her husband Gov. Peter Florric (Chris Noth), who as the governor of Illinois has decided to put his thumb on the scale and get back at Will Gardner for bedding his wife in a manner that could bring the mansion down around their heads.

If CBS decides to mine Peter Florric’s character and let Chris Noth deliver a little villainy, like he did in the film Lovelace, there’s no telling where “The Good Wife” could go.

Maybe now “The Good Wife” can mean more than the good wife who stays at home while her husband cheats and makes a fool of her, so she decides to have a career affair and an affair to get even. Forgiving your philandering husband has to mean more for a woman like Alicia. There’s a hint that “The Good Wife” writers and producers have finally figured out that, too.